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Physicians experience increased effort, uncertainty in cross-coverage of radiation oncology patients
Date:9/25/2013

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Radiation oncology physicians who encounter an unfamiliar case when cross covering for another physician experience higher levels of perceived workload and may perhaps also effects on performance, according to research conducted at the University of North Carolina.

In a paper presented at the 2013 American Society for Radiation Oncology conference, study authors Prithima Mosaly, PhD, and Lukasz Mazur, PhD, assistant professors in the UNC Department of Radiation Oncology; Bhishamjit Chera, MD, assistant professor of radiation oncology and Lawrence Marks, MD, Sidney K. Simon Distinguished Professor of Oncology Research and Chair, found a significant decrease in performance and confidence when physicians were asked to plan the treatment of an unfamiliar patient.

Eight radiation oncologists participating in the study, three experienced physicians and five resident physicians, attended two sessions where they were tasked with planning the procedure of a patient based on information from an electronic medical record. Researchers measured the subjective and quantitative experiences of the participating physicians during each session.

During the first session, designed to simulate a "cross-coverage" scenario, radiation oncology physicians were presented with the records of an unfamiliar patient undergoing a routine radiological procedure - palliative 2-field opposed lateral brain fields. The second session represented a "regular-coverage" scenario where the radiation oncology physicians were presented with the same case after 48 hours.

After each session, the physicians evaluated their experience using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Task Load Index (NASA-TLX). Performance was measured using completion time and willingness to approve the generated plan. Overall, the results during cross-coverage revealed a significant increase in perceived workload as quantified by NASA-TLX score and decrease i
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Contact: William Davis
william_davis@med.unc.edu
919-966-5906
University of North Carolina Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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